COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine — Gold and blue star families are coming together for the 6th year in a row to honor their loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
During the Wreaths Across America weekend Downeast, active and retired military, as well as their families, are invited to the tip land where Wreaths is based to tag remembrance trees for their loved ones.
This year, nearly 250 active and retired military, military families, volunteers, and sponsors, many flying from across the country, are in Maine for this event.
Gold Star mother Cathy Powers came from North Carolina to be at Wreaths but it wasn’t a direct route.
Powers is spending the year running through all 50 states in the continental United States for military past and present including her son, Bryce. He passed away in 2013 after a car crash in Japan where he was stationed as a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force.
Powers believes certain numbers have followed her since Bryce's death.
"One hour, four minutes, and twenty-five seconds," said Powers.
These numbers represent her running time Saturday, but to her, they mean a whole lot more.
"On April 25th, that's the day that we renewed our marriage vows and that we told our son, 'it's OK,'" said Powers. "'It's not going to take all of us. You can go.'"
Bryce passed away one day later on April 26, 2013, six months after the car crash.
Powers also mentioned that Bryce's favorite number was 13, and that his car crash took place on the 13th day of the month.
She also points out that Saturday's event was planned for the 13th of this month, just by chance.
“Never give up,” said Powers. “Life is really hard and complicated, but it’s never too late.”
Wreaths Across America’s executive director Karen Worcester said Powers has been an inspiration for other Gold Star families especially with her “Running Fir Wreaths” movement this year.
Maine is the 33rd state Powers has visited since January 1st, running a total of 580.4 miles.
She plans to finish the year running in Arlington in December and calls the whole experience, her miracle.
Worcester added that the Wreaths Across America stem to stone weekend aims to bring military families together and spread awareness of the organization and its mission to remember, honor, and teach.